Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2021
ORICK, Calif. — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory traveled to Redwood National and State Parks today, where they met with community leaders who are forging collaborative, locally led partnerships to conserve and restore California’s Redwood forests and increase climate resiliency.
Secretary Haaland, Chair Mallory, and U.S. Representative Jared Huffman met with members of the Yurok Tribe, the National Park Service, and California Department of Parks and Recreation to tour a forest site in use by Redwoods Rising, a partnership between Redwood National and State Parks and Save the Redwoods League. The partnership aims to thin thousands of acres of overstocked, logged over lands within the parks to accelerate old-growth characteristics the parks are known for. The effort will also remove miles of former logging roads and stream crossings that affect local species like salmon and steelhead.
“Nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America,” said Secretary Haaland. “It's exciting to see the local partnerships in action that ensure future generations get to experience the wonder of the Redwoods, as we do today. This is the kind of collaboration that we are hoping to support across the country to conserve, connect and restore our lands and waters.”
“President Biden set a bold national conservation goal to protect the lands and waters upon which we all depend,” said Chair Mallory. “This historic conservation goal drives us to think about ways we can be better stewards of our natural resources in order to confront the climate crisis and threats like extreme heat, wildfires and floods. Local partnerships like the ones that are conserving California’s redwoods are instrumental to this effort, improving ecosystem health and resilience, supporting local economies, and expanding access to the outdoors for all.”
Today’s tour and discussion reinforce the goals of President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030. California is also leading an inclusive conservation initiative to achieve similar goals within the state. By embracing the principles of resiliency and landscape connectivity, this work will accelerate restoration and prepare park landscapes for the impacts of drought, fire, disease, invasive species, and climate change — all key components of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to protecting our natural resources and landscapes.
Secretary Haaland also acknowledged the devastating fires in Northern California and noted that climate change is making fire seasons more intense as our firefighters deal with hotter, drier conditions, worsening drought conditions, and more extreme fire behavior. The visit highlighted investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which includes nearly $1.5 billion for Interior’s wildland fire management programs to improve firefighter pay, reduce hazardous fuels on the landscape, and restore lands after the fire.
The visit comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent report, which affirms that climate change is impacting the planet in unprecedented ways. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to pursuing bold action that will not only reduce emissions, but also build our resilience to the worsening impacts of climate change.